I played Els a number of times while in Dubai, and always enjoyed it. It's a classy place, and you realise that the moment you pull up at the clubhouse.
The range (doublesided with the Butch Harmon school on one end) is excellent however sometimes they make you hit from mats (which at this price point and in this location shouldn't be the case). There is a nice short game area too and a few putting greens, one right outside the club house terrace. The putting greens are representative of the course as well.
The course itself is a strong offering but it is a 'resort' course and by that I mean that you have houses left and right of it. I'm not the biggest fan of that but the golf course itself is strong enough to get away with it. The fairways and greens are excellently maintained. However, Els seems to have a penchant for raised greens and difficult run off areas which sometimes make the course a bit unfair I'd say. The 9th hole is a case in point, it's a long par 4 with a green that is quite severely sloped and raised up from the fairway. With a long iron in as your second shot, you probably won't hold the green unless you're a low low handicapper and the up and down is very difficult. A layup is a better strategy but even then it's not guaranteed that you can stop the ball on the green with your third shot. The same happens on the 10th hole and I just don't enjoy such green complexes that much and find them a bit unfair.
One word on the Butch Harmon School - this is just an awesome place and if you're looking for a few lessons I highly recommend the guys led by Jamie. Many Tour pros come here to tune up their game ahead of the Middle East swing so you can find yourself practising next to Tommy Fleetwood for example. It's a really great place.
Els is a fine course but I prefer the simplicity of Abu Dhabi National or the scenery of Yas Links. But if you're in Dubai, you should play here.
Date: October 19, 2019